Imagine ordering a cup of Papagena or being asked by a former ballet dancer, “Would you like some hot Carmen?” At the charming Teenorissimo teahouse in Vienna’s 13th district, you can experience just that!
The owners are artists by passion and profession. Sandy Pinderak was a classical ballet dancer on various stages; her husband, Alexander Pinderak, a lyrical tenor from Częstochowa, Poland, studied singing in Łódź and Dresden.
Over a cup of tea, he tells his story: “Vienna is a dream come true for every classical musician,” he confesses. He had moved here in 1996 to join the choir of Vienna State Opera. Then, in 2008, he became a member of the Wiener Volksoper ensemble, singing over 20 title roles. “My job requires intensive rehearsals and flexibility,” he says, “but I try to help my wife in Teenorissimo whenever I can. Our teahouse is the favorite meeting point of many of our artist friends.”
Opening a teahouse had been Sandy’s dream. “Drinking tea relaxes me and makes me happy,” she says with a disarming smile. The name Teenorissimo was an expression of the irresistible attraction tea shares with classical music. “Just like music, tea is diverse and full of fantasy. Light, fruity, intense, soft, flowery, aromatic – there are so many subtleties that every cup becomes a unique experience, like a visit to the opera.”
So it is the world of opera with all its characters that gives their teas their names, the tastes of Papageno, Rigoletto and Carmen. “Parsifal tastes like apricots, Titania the subtle pleasure of the mango fruit, Belmonte lemon and ginger notes.” Not surprisingly, The Queen of the Night is the queen of all, a strong black tea that surely holds sway over all.
And then there are the traditional Polish fruitcakes or gingerbread made according to Grandma’s recipes.
Fashion With Champagne
Dresscode.Lach.Filip is not your usual fashion store. It represents the “feminine, timeless casual chic” the owners will tell you – with a surprising twist.
The mother-daughter duo – master tailor Barbara Lach-Filip and fashion designer Laura Filip – set out to demonstrate that quality, sustainability and a small budget are not mutually exclusive. Together with their team, they have created not only a concept store for beauty and fashion, but also “a place to meet” in a central location near Vienna’s Westbahnhof, with some excellent cocktails and an inviting chill-out lounge.
On some 300 m2 there is a custom tailoring and alterations shop, a boutique and a cosmetics area (eyelash styling, manicures or pedicures) as well as a café, in the heart of the salon, which invites you to linger and offers an oasis of calm. Daughter Laura Filip came to Austria as a two-year-old and grew up bilingually, attending both Austrian and Polish schools. Her mother is a master tailor who strongly influenced her interest in fashion, encouraging her to study fashion design in Kraków rather than Vienna.
Part of that was to reconnect with her country of origin, both the culture and the aesthetic. “Polish fashion is colorful, imaginative, nonconventional, bold and creative,” she said. “I wanted to combine the classical Austrian sense of style with the explosive and passionate Polish temperament.” Polish design certainly influences her work, she agreed, but not in the sense of folklore. Many contemporary Polish artists, such as Cleo, Michal Szpak, Anna Wyszkoni and Ania Karwan are their clients and present their creations on international stages.
The idea behind the Dresscode.Lach.Filip salon comes from the perennial complaint: “I have so much in my closet, but nothing to wear!” The mission of the mother- daughter duo is to encourage people to adapt or repair existing clothes to fit their changing silhouettes instead of throwing them away. The clients report they also love the beauty area and the informal atmosphere of the professional styling consulting – with no obligation to buy. Just relax with a glass of prosecco and get a little good advice!
A Polish “Sensei”
Szkoła Dalekowschodnich Sztuk Walki
Paweł Bongilaj is the Polish champion of classical jujitsu and Okinawan kobudo, ancient martial arts using wooden weapons. His Dojo studio for the martial arts in Bonygasse 53 has just celebrated its first anniversary. The sensei (teacher) has over a hundred Polish students. He teaches tai chi, jujitsu, laido and kobudo, self-defense for women and relaxation with Tibetan gongs.
From the beginning, the project was about community, Paweł says, about creating a place for the Polish community, especially children, to cultivate courage, self-discipline, respect and compassion. He teaches in Polish and Japanese, one language for him and the other to honor the origins of these martial arts from Okinawa and Japan with the terms used all over the world. His goal: “To allow first- and second-generation immigrants to make friends and be encouraged to use Polish to communicate outside their families.”